Living in Gratitude


Living in Gratitude

Illusion of Self

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

There comes a time in everyone’s life when self-evaluation takes place. We recall our earlier years within the morning of our life, not necessarily accepting where we have traveled or what we have done. As we look back, we choose to move forward in a different direction…a direction leading towards purpose. What is that purpose? Only we have that answer. What is that purpose for you, the reader? Often the answer is “I don’t know.” Do not worry the answer will present itself with time.

The truth is we have lived our whole life on auto-pilot, never really paying attention to details of life…only taking them for granted. It is time to reclaim our lives; it is time to make the change. Making changes, we see for the very first time. Committing to being present in our days, being present with our choice to be on purpose — wow, that is a lot of being!

Accepting our Path

We all come to a point in our lives — a point of self-reflection — contemplating where we have gone and what we’ve contributed in life. It is the transition everyone must go through, taking us from the morning of our lives to the afternoon of our lives. Carl Jung often referred to this as the shift into the afternoon of our lives. Those who transition find happiness and live happily ever after, but those who do not…go on miserably.

The mid-life crisis is labeled for such an event. A time when we must change the way we see things in life, letting go of our past experiences and what we have already learned. Letting go lighten the load as we embark on a new beginning of our lives. Again, those who make the shift find happiness. Those who do not let go of the past will continue a “living death.” A living death is where we take up space, breathing in the air while slowly decaying away.

As long as we are green, we are growing. Yellow, we are a dying fellow. Brown…we are down.

~Cal (at five years of age)

Shifting into the afternoon of our lives, we instinctively look to fulfill a purpose, a purpose that many struggles to find. Sages, gurus, yogis and other enlightened beings often say we must “go within” to find our purpose. The formula for finding purpose is so simple that many will shun the idea. Is there a yearning to do something wonderful within this lifetime? Is there an idea to explore since childhood? Chances are, this is the answer we are looking for.

What is it that you would love to do? What if you won a million dollars or there was unlimited funding? What would you do if there was no worry of financial responsibility? Is it dancing? Singing? Helping others? Opening a restaurant? Whatever speaks when given the possibility of unlimited resources, chances are it is an inner calling.

The dilemma comes with societal conditioning. We have been conditioned to think we need to make more money, have a “real job,” or have a respected place in society. We can do this, running the risk of sacrificing our happiness, or we can focus our intent on our happiness, running the risk of sacrificing our monetary returns. The chances are the latter will not occur, for when we are driven by passion — abundance just flows. Do we focus on money or happiness? It is possible to have both with emphasis on happiness or quality of life.

If you love what you do, you will profit from your success.

If happiness is not present while making the shift, then it is time for a change. Change towards happiness is always a good idea — make it now. Our world becomes clearer, easier, and blissful — making a leap from inactive to the active side of infinity. Synchronicity becomes more prevalent in our daily activities, continually sparking ‘aha’ moments. Taking this leap may require a bit of labor and faith. Do you know of someone who has made a significant change in life while going against the grain of what everyone else suggested they do? These are the Warriors who decide it is time to be happy once and for all. Everything on the line, they leap.

Once a man has committed to a way of life, he puts the greatest strength in the world behind him. It’s something we call Heart power. Once a man has made the commitment, nothing will stop him short of success. ~Vince Lombardi

We return now to a lesson from Ani Po…

Pondering the thought of standing firmly in Her beliefs, Ani Po reflects on the changes she has made in Her life. From pilgrim to Warrior, with a single thought…Her life changed forever. Realizing She has stepped onto the path of Warrior, She knows She can never go back to the way it was.

With further reflection, She recalls a friend transitioning to the afterlife…

Now in hospice care, the family says, “He has suddenly become ill.” Ani Po knows differently and has known that he has been dying for some time. While we are all dying, this man gave up on living about ten years ago and followed a path of Darkness. Ani Po, for years, tried to get him to see Light but with no success.

Ani Po: “Why are you always so negative? Can’t you find positive in any given situation?”

Friend: “No. I see things as they are, and it isn’t always pretty.”

Ani Po: “ If you cannot find good in any given situation, then you are already dead. Sadly, we think things are horrible, which is the only reality we’ve ever known. Have you ever read The Death of Ivan Illych?”

“ No Ani Po.”

“ I would highly recommend it.”

What if my whole life was wrong? ~Ivan Illych

While Her friend’s health options sadden Ani Po, She respects Her friend’s decision to die, knowing that maybe this is how her friend chose to live his life — alone till the bitter end. The truth is — our world is a mirror image of how we see ourselves. If we are inspired and feel alive, then we live as such. If we feel the world falling around us, we slowly decay until death. It is paradoxical, this two-way mirror, what is reflected on the inside projects outward and what we witness on the outside we allow into our inner thoughts. We all have a choice to believe in negativity or positivity. One promises growth, the other death. While death is imminent, we do not have to leave this place in misery. The two-way mirror can reflect how our thoughts project into the world — negativity begets negativity, positivity spreading positivity.

Are we dying while living in negative? Or merely spreading a not-so-desirable outcome into the world? Seeing the world through a negative lens — reduced to a bleak and disparate reality. Is this real? What is?

Living through the eyes of positivity, living a false reality? Fairy tale of sorts? Can we live in positivity, with lingering past and hidden shadows of self? My hopes through this journey are passing along a necessity of embracing both the positive and negative of life. Seeing as a whole, the Canvas reveals hidden secrets.

Stepping into the Canvas with an indomitable spirit.

The only person who can conquer self is the self. When someone brings negativity towards you, turn up the positivity. Step with confidence today, knowing that your afternoon has arrived and is about to get a lot Brighter. You are a Warrior, and you are no longer afraid.

Finding Light Within Darkness

We cannot understand up without defining down; right and left; in and out; positive and negative. Similarly, it is Darkness that often shows us Light. Within our Darkness Shines a Light of Hope. This is not a duality but a whole — as one cannot exist without the other. Stepping into the Canvas, there is always the potential for Light within the Darkness — a divine dichotomy of existence.

Whatever one’s given situation presents, a possibility to see the lighter side of things is at hand. Even death, as saddening as it may be, there is always good to be found — one need only look closely to find. See the silver lining in every cloud, and paradise shall be yours. Caution: people will accuse you of being crazy or even delusional — stay the course.

Studying history and cyclical patterns on a grander level. Previously we spoke of cycles of the self, but on a global whole, we have greater cycles of hate versus love, us vs. them mentality. We have been trained to claim what was or wasn’t ours in the first place, identifying with our stuff as an extension of self. Gladly we let go, freeing the bondage of what was — accepting what will be.

The majority of people live under one giant bell curve, following the rest of the people while spinning their wheels to remain with the majority. The good news — we are not in this curve, but an outlier of this bell curve and possibly even shifting the curve! Dare to shift the bell curve towards the Lighter Side of Infinity — allowing others to get just one more glimpse of Hope for all Humanity — leaving victim mentality behind for ever.

There is a scientific study that proves victim mentality. If we fill a bucket full of crabs, they will settle to the bottom. Once they are trapped within the confines of the bucket, one crab will attempt to get out. The saddening effect is when the other crabs accept their misery and pull the crab, who attempts to escape, back into the bucket of misery. Similarly, as humans, some think differently and attempt to get out of the bucket of misery — only to be pulled back in. Stay strong — for they no longer have a grip on our actions.

Stepping into the Canvas in Darkness. Allow yourself to travel into Darkness, closing your eyes to that around you. Entering the sacred space within, we see a flickering light waiting to shine — the Light of Hope that will Light the way during darkened times. Be still, embrace the Darkness only for a moment — Now grasp the Light, allowing brighter days ahead — Love, Light and Life.

Transmutation of self, an outlier is what they are. Metamorphosis of global consciousness, a paradigm shift of realities. ~Ani Po

This Is The Day our Life Will Surely Change

This is the day
Your life will surely change.
What you do with every breath, Every step,
Will determine tomorrow. It may not come,
But continue forward.
Your hands are His.
Your feet walk as Hers.
Your mind shall think like His.
Your Heart was transplanted with Hers. With eyes of Hope,
Thoughts in faith.
Your steps shall be with grace; Actions will be of peace.
Yesterday has passed
Leading to today.
Give thanks for every moment before — And to come.
This is the day your life will surely change.

Changing direction towards happiness — hearing things never heard before — what is that noise?

Those are birds. Listen closely — hear them call our names.

Stepping into the Canvas with an Attentive Ear, listening for the beauty to break out in song. Taking time to enjoy the Canvas — it returns the message — declaring — I AM Here. Be here, Be Now — listen to the Canvas speak your name. Be Here, Be Now — whisper a soft return — thank you — I Love you. In stillness, we are calmed. In calmness, we are freed.

~Ani Po

Ever wonder what your purpose is? Ever wonder what you are supposed to do with your life? Have you taken the time to pamper yourself? Have you taken the time to be still? All questions are answered by taking time to be in the present moment — shall answer all of these questions — If only we took time to be present. Being present, sight becomes clear. Being present, speech softens. Being present, lends an attentive ear.

Stepping into the Canvas, the wind called my name. ~Ani Po

Spiritual Exercise: Living in Gratitude

1. Everything is a Gift

The truth is…everything is a gift, and there is much to be grateful for. Sadly, we have been trained to move forward quickly, missing the opportunity to be present with gratitude. In a single breath, there is a gift. In another, we share the gift…returning and receiving repeatedly. The old cycle of divide and conquer has gone, while a new give and receive has begun. Through gratitude, we are restored, allowing spiritual eyes to paint a brighter day — every day!

Think for a moment, whether obvious or not/ good or bad, seek the silver lining. Instead of seeing the terrible car accident — seeing the heroism that arrives on time, instead of seeing a horribly long workday — seeing a blessing that we have a job, etc. etc.

2. Share the Gift

There isn’t anything to share but joy itself. No matter the circumstance, we can shed Light on a bleak situation. When we find our inner guidance and Light, we choose to share this Light. Not from an ego stance, telling people what ‘they should do’ but instead allowing them to see the choices they may have.

In our gratitude, we give thanks. Giving thanks, we receive more to be thankful for. Shifting the bell curve, filling our lives with happiness…we invite others to receive the same. In our receiving, we are giving to others…in a slightly different manner.

3. Giving is Receiving

In giving, we are receiving. Through our generous or kind acts, we share in gratitude with others. In giving, they are receiving. Through their receiving, we are receiving. In gratitude, there yields more gratitude through the gratitude of another.

There inlay the paradox of Living in Gratitude. As we give thanks for our days, we share the gift with another. In sharing, we are giving it all away. In giving, we are receiving through the Light shared with another. It is a win-win situation!

Start with a daily reflection: think of three things to be grateful for each day. Write them down. As we begin this habit, we grow in gratitude…allowing more gratitude to paint our days.

Here is one example of starting a day in gratitude:

Facing the South, “Good morning to the South and all my Relations, walk with me on this new day.” Repeat this facing the West, North and East. Looking to Upper Skies and Mother Earth below our feet. Finally, we call upon the Self and all Her Relations, asking the same. Each time we call on a Cardinal Direction: breathe in energies of past, present and future relations; breathe out love and gratitude, expanding our field of understanding.

Humbled to our knees, with head resting on the bosom of Mother Earth, “AS I step out kissing the Earth in Peace and Love, I give thanks for this Great Canvas before me.”

Next…do at least one kind of act per day. Through our generous hearts, we give thanks for the ability to share this gift of life. In sharing, we are giving and receiving all at the same time.

Finally, look ahead, seeking additional, creative ways to share in gratitude.

Chapter Six: Daily Reflection

Chapter Six: Daily Reflection

The Canvas of Life

Photo by Lukas Zischke on Unsplash

In a world of technology and distractions, we forget to step into the canvas of life. Laid before us to enjoy, often forgotten, failing to embrace all the canvas offers. Painted by source, enjoyed by few, free for all to enjoy. Unplug the PC, turn the phone off — daring not answer any emails.

While technology can be a great asset, it is often a great distraction, pulling us away from what matters — being in the now. To be in the now does not necessarily mean to be in the know, which often creates an image of disconnect. Not disconnected from source, but distractions: news, everyday monotony, and often more sadness. It is time to re-acclimate ourselves with nature and enjoy all the canvas offers. Take a walk, ride a bike, do nothing.

 When was the last time you did nothing?

I had a wonderful discussion with a friend today as we reminisced about the days of youth. We didn’t have cable, didn’t have cell phones, didn’t have email or PCs to occupy our time. No, none of that! We just went outside and played. Ah, the good ole days!

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, I used everything you gave me.~Erma Bombeck

Stepping into the Canvas unplugging from the rest, enjoying life as it was meant to be. In a world of distractions, it is even more important to be our authentic selves, doing what we want to do. Living life to the fullest did not earn itself by riding the desk or surfing the net. Dare to take in nature around you, feeling the breath of life travel in and out of your being.

Taking the Next Steps

When we first identify the necessity for change, the first step proves most difficult — making the first step often with resistance. Resistance comes from outside influences but mainly from self. Self-sabotage is very common, and it is imperative to stay focused on what we want. Focusing on what we don’t want, we attract more of what we don’t want. Why not focus on what we do want?

Focusing on what we want, we attract more of what we are looking for.

Now what?

Staying focused on what we want, an invisible force steps in to assist. The next steps are very crucial and require a bit of effort.

Just the mere observation by the scientist can change the whole outcome. ~Wayne Dyer

Tell nobody of our plan, as interjection by another can alter the intended outcome unless, of course, they are to encourage and lift us to new plateaus. Time to create a plan. It is a good idea to write out our goals and keep them nearby to place them in the daily thought process. First, our intentions applied to paper and finally into our daily practice.

By writing down our goals and placing them in plain sight, applying imagery, we apply an invisible technology. The Mayan and Egyptian societies introduced this and are still practicing today. Our goals and intentions are at the forefront of our thought process through imagery. At the forefront, they become our living dreams.

Thoughts become actions, actions become things, and things become a new reality. Staying on course with intentions, we instinctively change our daily patterns and continuously change direction with an occasional update to our vision board. The vision board holds our dreams in plain sight, allowing us to keep our course.

Stepping into the canvas with a new direction, we instinctively change our course and collaborate with dormant forces supplied by self and universal force. Please take this opportunity to dream it, take this time to write it, take time to align with what is most desired…while letting go of previous beliefs. This is our day — allowing our dreams to come true.

Broken Canvas

After eighteen motor vehicle accidents, two motorcycle accidents, three bicycle-versus-automobile accidents, four instances of hanging from a roof for dear life wit the assistance of a lucky hammer, sliding under a moving car, a bear encounter, two bull shark encounters, and over eighty-four broken bones, I finally noticed that maybe it was time to change my ways.

Some would say I was clumsy or a black cloud followed me wherever I went. The latter of the two is more accurate, but who do you think created the black cloud? It was self-sabotage creating my misery. While I have heard past traumas influence thoughts in life, the easiest answer is this — I attached negative emotions to everything around me and created more misery in my life. As soon as I chose happiness, all was good. Is there a possibility that some negative emotions have been attached to the daily lives — creating a self-sabotage of personal growth?

At the time of awakening, seeing only the positive in all things, as if I could see the silver lining in every cloud, I began taking steps within the active side of infinity. While the hallucinations subsided, paradise is still a reality.

What did I do? Did I change anything?

Merely my thoughts. My thoughts controlled everything: personal life, love life, and reality. When we choose happiness, our lives will do somersaults — for the better.

Choosing to stand firmly in what I believe to be true was not easy. When first declaring my coming out, not what you think, people challenged me daily in hopes of breaking my spirits. We will touch on this subject another day, as it is one of the major sins written — damning the spirit of another. It was as if satin himself (herself)came to challenge me — thankfully, Christ entered into my life “through HIM all things are possible” — true strength arose.

While physical pain subsided, mental anguish often returned. Yet, as I uncovered more shadows of the past, reminding me of the pain once endured — I became healed. These attached emotions of associated pain only created more pain. Once I uncovered them, I quickly asked for forgiveness, allowing forgiveness to embrace the pain. Through acceptance of pain, I Am Healed. Yes, even the past pain can make us strong — ultimately who we are today. Imagine — would we be who we are today without the lessons of yesterday?

As I re-write this chapter, I am deepened by thought. Maybe my purpose was to go through many afflictions: Motor vehicle accidents, broken bones, painful and emotional childhood, etc. Maybe this path has always been laid before me, and it is brought to a different media so that others may benefit from these words?

Right on time, the book is delivered!

As I began unraveling hidden personal emotions, a book suggested by a wise teacher showed up to teach, releasing hidden emotions and finding health, Love and happiness. While these are merely a choice, we can still miss the mark if we have hidden emotions associated with pain. “The Emotion Code” by Dr. Bradley Nelson explains many of our negative traits are associated with negative emotions caused by past traumas, whether mental or physical.

While I am still putting the pieces together, Humpty Dumpty falls one last time. Broken only in mental discomfort, he quickly climbs back atop the wall. The pain has gone, but occasional mental pain arises. Allowing it into the Canvas, I quickly paint a brighter scene. What is the beauty of having been broken? I Am Healed. Through good or bad situations, we grow. While many teachings come from touchy feel-good scenarios, sometimes are greatest teachers come from times of darkness.

Stepping into the Canvas releasing old thoughts and pain — discovering a new fresh outlook on life. While the canvas may have painted greys and blacks yesterday, it is sure to have a splatter of brighter colors today.

Each new day is an opportunity to discover yet another area of the canvas that needs brightening — another area of growth.

Staying on Course

Ever feel like nobody sees your point of view? Don’t people understand you? While this Is very common in a diverse society, it doesn’t mean we have to give up on what we feel is right. Stay the course.

An acquaintance once felt it necessary to revamp daily policy and procedures, which would require other people in his department to change the way they do things. Not seeing his vision for change, they labeled him a threat to their department.

He stayed on course and implemented many changes. The outcome, the administration viewed as a win-win for everyone. Patient satisfaction climbed to the highest it had ever been, revenue nearly tripled, and our friend found himself working closely with administration implementing other organizational changes to duplicate the same result in other departments. The sad outcome was our friend lost his job. How was this possible? The administration looked so good promotion was inevitable, just not for our friend. While the new administration had new agendas and our friend’s department still held animosity towards him, his peers immediately began looking for ways to let him go. During a recent downsizing, the department found its way. Being the highest paid in his area, our friend quickly found himself on the chopping block.

Should he have started the original task or remained status quo? With our pilgrim/warrior analogy, the pilgrim would have just remained status quo while the Warrior always advances with the intent of the greater good. Our Warrior friend found himself amidst a difficult lesson but remained true to himself even though it cost his job.

While many would find this disheartening, our Warrior friend found peace among all this as he knew he was right on course with his highest self. Staying true to himself among adversities, allowing true freedom to prevail. While jobs are slim for many, the jobs remain endless for the Warrior.

Stepping into the Canvas with Warrior attitude, remaining virtuous in every step. Choose not to pay attention to bleak outcomes, but remain centered on endless possibilities. When we align ourselves with the Warrior attitude, the universe returns the favor with endless possibilities.

Beyond The Canvas

You have made the first step into the canvas, taken the second, but left in wonder about what comes next. Stepping into the Canvas means taking an active participating role in our own lives while inspiring others along the way. Do we have to do anything? The truth is we need to do very little. Even in dissent, we indirectly take an active role In the Canvas of Life.

So if we need to do nothing, why do we struggle day-to-day trying to find our purpose? A conditioned response to think that we have to change the world and the only way to do so is through action. Action in the normal sense means actively seeking ways towards success.

Myth: success is measured by how far we get in life and how much’ stuff’ we accumulate.

Truth: success is not defined by how much stuff we accumulate, but acceptance of ourselves and tolerance for those around us.

The world is changing daily, yet we remain stuck exactly where we were yesterday. How do we leap, changing how we see the rest of the world as it changes daily? With a mere thought — stop worrying about what happened yesterday and begin living for today.

If a man in the morning hears the right way, he may die in the evening without regret. ~Confucius

To be active in the canvas means to seek purpose, but our only purpose is to live fully and leave the details to Master Painter. Nature is the canvas, and we are a part of a Great Canvas. Beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. While we have a hand in co-creating our reality, the only goal is finding happiness. Happiness cannot be found on the outside but within.

The paradox to finding happiness is merely accepting it.

Once we submit to our inner calling, happiness is sure to follow. Once it is found, give it all away. It is not enough to step into the canvas, but getting beyond a belief that we have to do anything in life other than being happy. Getting beyond the Canvas is not worrying about the outcome but enjoying all there is.

The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with nature. ~Joseph Campbell

Life is too short — why would we spend it miserable, filled with judgmental thoughts, lacking acceptance and failing to hit the mark of happiness?

The bulls-eye to happiness is at the center of self. Being told to do this or do that, we still choose to do what we want. Is it the monetary value that makes you tick? Then get it. Is it true Love you seek? Then find it. Whatever you are looking for, seek it out and make it true.

There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle. ~Deepak Chopra

Stepping into the Canvas in authenticity. Worrying, not about outcomes or deadlines, instead of worrying about living to the fullest — leaving the details of life to the Master Painter. We are the Canvas — meant to paint as we see fit. Why not paint a picture that brings you joy?

Just Be. ~Ben Merens

Spiritual Exercise: Daily Reflection

1. The Rooster Crows

We are not getting any younger, and the world is flying by at light speed daily. We can choose to remain in our present reality, or we can choose to step out and into a new reality. The time is now to unplug from everyday media and overwhelming sad news. The time is now.

What to do?! Start with removing negativity from daily sight: TV, radio, Social Media — or whatever negativity flows into the day. If you cannot live without your news, proceed while filtering its content. The sadness that sells does not have to fill your days.

2. Daily Reflection

Our first step to Syncrosensational is identifying as too painful to continue in our current circumstances — choosing to move forward, contemplating what is beneficial to hold onto and which needs letting go.

The next step is acting upon our choice to seek happiness. Filling our days with happiness: what we listen to, who we speak with, conversations we have, the food we consume, the list continues to grow as we take more and more steps into the Light of Syncrosensational.

What was once broken shall now be restored. Through each step, we are healed one moment at a time. Through guidance by spirit, accepting the path before us — we are healed.

3. Daily Cycle

The days continue like Groundhog Day, with Sonny and Cher singing in the background — we are given a new day, a new choice to seek out what we are looking for. There may be days of loneliness, days of anger, days of happiness and sadness — all cyclical or governed by our attached emotions to past traumas. Staying the course, sitting quietly, closing our eyes, “The cyclical thoughts of sadness and hurt have gone, a new day of happiness and pure Love is upon me. I am Loved, and I am Love.”

Go ahead, bookmark and recite to self as often as needed.

There is nothing more to do — we are safe and healed. Moving beyond the Canvas of Life, entering a place of pure gratitude. Gratitude for the allowance of solitude, servitude and sanctitude of everyday living.

Much gratitude for those who take time to read, ponder, and allow the inner workings of self to come forward. Grateful for the feedback, love shared, and more importantly, the Dance with Inspiration. Deep Peace.

Joseph Lieungh

Photo by Javardh on Unsplash